Hours after thousands of MAGA rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol, Stewart Rhodes, founder of the Oath Keepers, texted his supporters comparing their coordinated effort to that of the revolutionaries during the Boston Tea Party.
“The founding Sons of Liberty generation stormed the mansion of the corrupt Royal Governor of Massachusetts and ransacked the place. They also jumped aboard a ship carrying East Indian tea and threw it in the harbor, ”Rhodes reportedly told members of the far-right paramilitary group in a cryptic group discussion, according to de new court documents.
Having warned that America is in a “much more murderous situation given the FACT that foreign and domestic enemies have subverted, infiltrated and taken over near every office and level of power in this country,” Rhodes reminded the group that ‘they had’ a FINAL chance to get Trump to do his job and his duty.
“Patriots who enter their own Capitol to send a message to traitors are NOTHING compared to what will happen if Trump doesn’t take decisive action now. It helped send this message to HIM. He was the biggest audience today. I hope he got the message, ”he added.
The rousing speech is the latest in a string of new details that seem to suggest prosecutors are heading for an even bigger case against the militia and Rhodes – potentially becoming the most comprehensive conspiracy case stemming from the insurgency.
So far, prosecutors have indicted more than a dozen Oath Keepers with conspiracy, including Jessica Watkins, a 38-year-old former military vet accused of recruiting operatives to “fight in the body. corps ”to take control of the Capitol. And while the government has not named Rhodes or directly charged with anything illegal, court documents filed against Watkins and two other members repeatedly detail the communications they have had with “Person One.” (Other documents have established that Person 1 is the chief oath-keeper.)
A court case Wednesday night provided further details of Rhodes’ direct contact with members already accused of plotting together to prevent Congress from certifying the electoral victory of President-elect Joe Biden. The file details a 97-second phone call at the height of the riot between Rhodes and Kelly Meggs, the self-proclaimed leader of the group’s Florida section.
After the call, Meggs and several other indicted members “integrated themselves among the insurgents trying to force open the double doors of the Capitol building on the east side which the officers were desperately trying to close,” the file said.
While prosecutors previously detailed “person one ”’s direct involvement in coordinating oath-keepers on Jan. 6, the new brief provides a more striking picture of his involvement before, during, and even after the siege, like a picture. complete destruction and violence on the Capitol has arisen. Notably, Rhodes always warned, in his moving post-riot message, that there could be more violence if former President Donald Trump did not intervene.
Prosecutors filed the document on Wednesday in response to Watkins’ latest request to be released pending trial. In it, they provided more details on how Rhodes and other Oath Keepers discussed the plans in a cryptic discussion group – titled “DC OP: 6 January 21” – at least a day before the riots.
The discussion included Rhodes, Watkins, Meggs and two other Oath Keepers accused of participating in the riots but not included in the group’s conspiracy: Roberto Minuta and Joshua James. (James is accused of providing protection to former Trump adviser Roger Stone before storming the Capitol.)
Prosecutors note that the cat is further evidence that the group stormed the Capitol “with the common objective of using force to reverse the presidential power transition, or ‘stop[ping] the flight. ”
In the group discussion, the group “discussed topics such as the type of weapons to bring, the use of portable radios to communicate during the January 6 operation” and the existence of several rapid reaction forces. well equipped who would wait outside of town. in worst case scenarios. (Gun laws are more permissive outside of DC’s borders.)
Around the time of the first reported Capitol breach on Jan.6, prosecutors say, Rhodes texted the group: “Pence is not doing anything. As I predicted.
“All I see doing is complaining. I don’t see any intention on his part to do anything. The patriots therefore take it in hand. They have had enough, ”Rhodes wrote ten minutes later.
Then, at the height of the insurgency – which forced dozens of elected leaders into hiding and ultimately killed five people – another person in the chat said they “had taken their place in the capital. [sic]”And that” we must bring together all the members who are not on mission. “
The message appears to have prompted Rhodes – whose location during the riot has yet to be revealed – to call Meggs for nearly two minutes. As Meggs and other Oath Guards pushed towards the Capitol in a uniformed “pile”, or combat formation, someone in the group chat reminded them that the rapid reaction forces “stood by. the hotel”. Rhodes then ordered the group to go to the “south side” of the Capitol.
Prosecutors say video and photographs from the headquarters show Watkins telling people to “push, push, push” and “enter” the Capitol while maintaining training with his fellow Oath Keepers. The court document says that around the same time Rhodes posted a photo in the crypto group chat with the caption “Trump better do his damn duty.”
“Others have discussed the movements of riot control agents deployed on Capitol Hill,” the file says. “One chat participant said: ‘SWAAT [sic] should withdraw and respect their oath ”, while another commented:“ Hopefully anyone inside the capital barricades themselves and continuously strengthens their positions in the long term ”.
After the riot, Rhodes texted the group: “The leaders are checking that you have all of your team members. If anyone is missing, post it here. “
Former federal prosecutor Neama Rahman told The Daily Beat on Thursday that Rhodes and the other organizers of the January 6 riot “are probably the next to be charged.”
“That he [is] a drug cartel or an extremist group, federal prosecutors are well versed in peeling the layers of the crop and indicting the heads of criminal organizations, ”said Rahman.
“It’s even easier here, where prosecutors have social media statements and hundreds of defendants who have an interest in cooperating in exchange for a reduced sentence. The government has more than enough evidence to support the sedition charges, and it’s probably only a matter of weeks before we see any indictments and arrests.